The unknown? I pondered, The unknown what? How would I know it if it is "unknown"? How could such a thing be known yet unknown?
I shook my head.
K sighed, "Interesting," she murmured.
What is the unknown? I wondered, wishing I had a way to ask.
"Well," K began, "I suppose you should get rest for now. Do you need anything?"
We sat in silence for a minute. K watching me carefully while I wondered how to communicate my situation to her.
"I can't speak to you," I signed, hoping that helped her understand.
K's eyes widened briefly. She nodded and withdrew a small notebook from her tattered coat pocket. Opening it to a clean page, she handed me the paper along with a pen.
"Do you know Aethasian sign?" I asked her first.
K read my question quickly and scribbled a reply. "No, but the parents of a friend of mine communicate with sign language."
"You don't have to write out your words." I scribbled back, "I can hear you."
"Huh, okay." K replied verbally after reading my reply.
"What is the unknown?" I asked.
K folded her hands, wondering where to start. "He is many things to many people." she began uneasily, "To some, he's a ghost; a mysterious cane-wielding figure, untraceable by the Empire. Some tremble at his mentioning while others refuse to believe he exists...
"However," K continued, cracking a smile, "To others, he is good. He protects the weak and affirms the weak of heart. Although his origin and abilities are ever-shrouded in mystery, he was a friend to many, and we greatly miss him...."
K sighed sadly, "Anyway, my reason for bringing him up is... well... you look very similar to him. I've never seen another Aethasian like him. However... I don't believe he was fully Aethasian. What I mean by this is, he... h-his powers, his story, I, um.."
K facepalmed. "Words!" she groaned from exasperation. "To boil it down, are you an Aethermancer?"
Aethermancer? I thought.
"I'm a thief," I wrote.
"Nice to meet you," K replied tiredly, "I'm a homeless Emberlin."
"Most of the thieves are Emberlins. Why aren't you one of them?" I asked.
K hesitated, "There are more Emberlins?" she whispered.
"They were taken from the factory by Aethasian thieves. We steal for them, they sell the bounty." I explained plainly, "From what I can tell, you lived in that factory, but how did you come to Aethasia without being taken there?"
"I-I was brought here by the Scarlet Man." K stammered, her eyes fearful.
"Who's that?" I asked casually.
"The Son of the Great Engineer, Lord and Savior of all in His Resistance." K dug in her pocket and brought out a glass globe of glowing purple light. "He made this," she explained, handing it to me.
"It's called an Aethermeter," K explained, "Although this country is overrun by fog, Aether is the true life blood of Aethasia."
There was something strangely calming about the Aethermeter as it pulsed in my hands. The purple glow soothed my mind and body, giving me a sensation I'd never felt before. However, as I held the meter, the purple glow began to grow faint. Before I could think of anything, K gasped as snatched the meter from my hands.
"It's almost empty!" she cried, her eyes bulging.
I cringed as I watched K fiddle around with the Aethermeter. After a while, she froze, her eyes glued to something on me. I glanced down and saw my hands... the palms were illuminated by a faint purple glow. K and I stared at one another in shock.
"You came from the Fire Tech Factory, yes?" K asked, raising an eyebrow.